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News 8/3/07

August 2, 2007 News 3 Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: networks. TPD was perusing the computer network terrain looking for what’s new and possible as we increase connectivity across the  globe. Most of us are very familiar with Ethernet (created originally by Xerox and still going strong) as well as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Well, there are some new networks brewing and they are called ‘Public Next Generation Network’, or NGN, and ‘Next Generation Corporate Network’ or NGCN. They have come about because of the demand for more security across the entire communications chain and we’ll be hearing more about them as we go forward. Link [warning: PDF].”

From Doc McGee: “Re: Misys. They have recruited Cory Eaves as EVP, CTO & CIO. His responsibilities will be to lead all things IT, internal and in product strategy and development. He held a similar position at ERP company SSA Global, which was buying struggling ERP companies left and right, not sunsetting any products, and leveraging maintenance revenue streams. That company’s vision was to bring the software together on two platforms and slowly raise maintenance fees and add capabilities to entice customers to upgrade. Cory knows his stuff and is pretty adept at navigating the often choppy waters between various product factions/groups in an organization as well as working with customers. He may be just what Misys needs right now to right this listing ship.”

From Anonymous Fan: “Re: athenahealth. Jonathan Bush and athenahealth are the cover story in this month’s Inc Magazine – regarding fun, their unique culture, how it is good for customers and business, and how he goes about managing his troops.Here is another link to him in a batman outfit and talking about some of the cool stuff the folks there do and how he connects fun to purpose.” The issue is on fun in the workplace. I was glad to see the mag add this caveat: “But don’t buy that karaoke machine yet. The common practice of treating sick cultures with a fun-graft–parties, silly hats, visits from Mister Softee–is insulting to employees and vaguely grotesque. For fun to thrive, meaningful work, competent management, fair compensation, and mutually respectful employees are table stakes. If you lack any of those, start there. Once the bread’s in place, come back and we’ll talk circuses.” Well said. I’ve worked in near-slave camp IT environments with carefully designated fun events prescribed by our little Hitler, sort of like Hawaiian Shirt Friday in Office Space, where a lobotomized corporate penguin passionlessly tries to connect (like Bill Lumbergh did) with the oppressed masses who yearn to cause him pain: “Oh, and remember, next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day, so, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.” There’s nothing more depressing than brain-dead galley slaves pretending to be festive while gobbling down cheap, cold pizza while dolled up in jollitywear and muttering obscenities about the clueless management team who thought their loyalty could be bought cheap.

From Scot Silverstein: “Re: Siemens. The Siemens cardiology system team I met in Germany were quite competent and ‘got it’ regarding what was needed. I’ve since found out those people are ‘no longer with the company’ and was told that part of the problems with the Soarian product was due to their influence. I rather think the problems were not the result of rigorous German engineering, but American IT practices.” And speaking of Scot, he had as good a time as I did ripping Intel’s Craig Barrett for his “my horses have EMRs” statement. Actually, he worked harder at it: he even composed new lyrics to the theme from Mr. Ed.

From Mike Kirby: “Re: CNMC. Kelly Styles, CIO of Children’s National Medical Center in DC, has ‘resigned to pursue other opportunities.’ Last day will be at the end of August.”

Marc Holland of Health Industry Insights dropped me a line about UPMC’s virtualization project, for which his company is providing validation services. He agrees with Art Vandelay that healthcare is two years’ behind other industries on virtualization. UPMC is projecting huge cost savings, although application vendors aren’t necessarily sharing their enthusiasm. One of their big ones (I mention them here a lot) was asked to quote hardware for rolling out an application to additional UPMC sites. They called for 40 servers at a $500,000 price. UPMC’s engineers estimated they could use virtualization to cut the hardware back to six servers for $6,500. The vendor refused to warranty that configuration, although they eventually agreed to four times the horsepower that UPMC recommended: 13 servers at around $250,000. Now assuming UPMC was right initially (I’d bet on them), their configuration was 98.7% less expensive, not to mention the future savings in maintenance, electricity, and software. Did that get your attention like it did mine?

Last chance to get this weekend’s inaugural Brev+IT newsletter. Sign up to your right. Judging from the number of signups, lots of folks are looking forward to it. Thanks, as usual, for the support. It’s not like I need the extra work, but it should be fun.

I got lots of interest in the reader’s request for a job description for Manager of Cardiovascular Informatics, all of it from folks who want a copy if I get one (which I haven’t so far). If you have one, several of us would apparently appreciate your sending it to me. The Rumor Report to your right will accept attachments, so use that if you’d rather.

Modern Healthcare reports that Suzanne Delblanco has resigned as CEO of Leapfrog Group, effective this fall. Since their ill-advised “CPOE or bust” stance made them initially threatening but ultimately irrelevant, you have to wonder where they go from here. They haven’t been in their heyday for years, but even in just the past two, their member count has dropped by 57%, according to current and archived versions of their web page. Most of their HIT vendor members bailed. Federal records show she was paid $179K, hardly generous by DC standards, although at just 39, I’m sure she has big paydays ahead.

At least this takes attention away from HealthConnect: a Kaiser Permanente surgeon is charged with intentionally killing a disabled patient with drugs in order to harvest his organs for transplant. Hootan Roozrokh, MD, quoted on his Kaiser web page as saying “I THRIVE by endeavoring to practice good karma,” faces eight years in prison (that’s all?)

The CEO of a hospital pricing company argues that ambulatory EMRs don’t make sense unless providers are paid fixed prices for quality. “Do we really expect that improvements in these processes will result in a cost justification for an EMR, or more globally, an improvement in the cost/quality profile of care for the country? If the entire country implemented EMRs overnight, would we see significant overall improvement in healthcare productivity, efficiency, quality and customer service?”

An Eclipsys shareholder is suing 20 past and present Eclipsys officers, claiming he and other shareholders were defrauded by option back-dating, insider trading, and falsified financial reports. I reported in May that the company said it had found evidence of back-dating, but claimed it was done by executives who left in 2006 (that’s still a corporate problem, it seems to me, but they didn’t seem to be worried when they said that). The shareholder submitted a lengthy list of trades and dates, claiming that the bigwigs enjoyed a 196% return on their options while regular shareholders lost 29% in the same period. Named: Cooper, Dipierro, Rudish, Wilson, Fife, Eckert, Coletti, Copple, Deady, Gomez, Etue, Hall, Patton, and Risenhoover (those are the ones I know, but there were a few more).

Speaking of Eclipsys, they announce Q2 numbers: revenue up 16%, EPS $0.11 vs. $0.03. Shares closed at $23.61 Wednesday, easily blowing through the 52-week high of $22.92.

Vince Ciotti sent over the 20th anniversary issue of the H.I.S. Professionals newsletter. Bob Pagnotta, Karl Sydor, and Vince started the company in 1987. “There are few companies in the healthcare IT industry, whether vendor or consulting, that have lasted 20 years, with all of the Big Eight consultants having fallen by the wayside along with countless other start-ups and ’boutique’ firms. What is equally amazing is that most of the firm’s original consultants are still active with the firm after 15 or more years.” They named their best hospital clients: Johns Hopkins, Meridian Health, and Sisters of Saint Francis. I was a client many years ago (Vince doesn’t know that since I’m anonymous, and now I know I wasn’t among their favorites) and they did a good job.

Former Cerner guy John Thompson lands as CEO of an ad software company.

Iowa Health System chooses Allscripts for ED software.

AMICAS Q2 numbers: revenue flat, EPS -$.01. vs. $0.01.

Rollout of the UK’s military EMR system begins. DmicP will eventually connect to the NHS system.

The trade group for state government CIOs says they should get more involved in RHIOs and NHIN.

Robert Goldstein, formerly of MDG Medical, joins Tennessee’s Shared Health RHIO as COO.

Talk to me.

Inga’s Update

CCHIT has so far added six vendors that have passed its 2007 ambulatory EMR certification criteria:

  • Community Computer Service (MEDENT 17) 7/11/2007
  • e-MDs, Inc. (e-MDs Solution Series 6.1.2) 7/18/2007
  • Greenway Medical Technologies (PrimeSuite 2007 R2) 6/22/2007
  • McKesson Provider Technologies (Practice Partner 9.2.1) 7/17/2007
  • NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, Inc. (NextGen EMR 5.4.29) 6/25/2007
  • Purkinje (CareSeries EHR 2.0) 7/27/2007

Vendors must pass 100% of the functionality, security, and interoperability requirements. The requirements are comprehensive – the functionality requirements alone run 46 pages. I expect many vendors to have a tough time getting certified. Will the market demand certified solutions when a doctor can be efficient and paperless using systems that don’t meet all the requirements?

Eclipsys signs a couple of new contracts. The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) extends their current agreement, adding pharmacy, med admin, KBC, and content from Zynx. Bayshore Community Hospital of Holmdel, NJ will implement patient financials, access management, and Sunrise Clinical Manager.

A reader had reported that customers weren’t able to get through to Sage. So far, I have sent an e-mail to Sage’s general inquiries e-mail (no response), plus attempted to call John Schoutsen, who is listed on the Web site as the company’s media and investment relations contact. Perhaps both the webmaster and Mr. Schoutsen were laid off, because the listed number is no longer working.

MED3000 acquires Pathology Service Associates (SC), which offers pathology revenue cycle management and practice management and marketing services. It has over 75 practice customers in 27 states, representing 400 pathologists.

Health Affairs publishes a “retrospective” titled “Lessons Learned from the Santa Barbara Project and Their Implications for Health Information Exchange.” Some conclusions are obvious: privacy should be addressed early; local support (especially financial) is critical; and implementation should be staged instead of big bang. “Initially, the vendor erred in its assessment that the technology needed to implement the Care Data Exchange (CDE) already existed in the market. Second, the vendor’s subsequent development and implementation of its own technology was slow and did not adequately define users’ functional requirements, which necessitated redesign and redevelopment of important functionality. Last, poor documentation and insufficient testing of the data interfaces meant that many of them had to be reworked, introducing further delays. In all, a development project scheduled to take three years took six; unfortunately, the boldess of the vision was not matched by a focused and efficient software development effort.” And thus, goodbye Santa Barbara, David Brailer, and CareScience; hello CHCF, Perot, and Medicity.

Inga’s listening.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: UPMC. They suffer from the same navel gazing disease of most academic medical centers- they are smarter than everyone else. Just ask them.

  2. Can you make links appear in a different color than quotes, so it’s easier to identify links contained within quotes?

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